Thursday, 4 December 2014

power and stubbornness, power and willingness, 'power' and blindness

Four months into the internationally declared Ebola emergency, in December 2014, who leads the world in direct medical support to fight the epidemic?

The answer to this question as discussed in The Guardian today is illuminating, as the country concerned is truly in a situation exemplifying the futility of long term superpower grudges. And illustrates how difficult it is to turn around big battleships, even when they don't work, or should be going somewhere else.

While The Guardian's discussion focuses on that country and the United States, we should note that the United States has committed massively to the Ebola challenge on the ground. Which brings us to consider just how limited the Australian 'contribution' is. And to note again another new moment in United States criticism of the Australian Government... also to note that the also-conservative Labor Party feels safe to use the US view to criticise the poverty of the government's response.

Senator-Dr Richard di Natale, in Liberia at his own expense and informed by the Australian Government that he will have no consular assistance if in trouble, reports also that the decision of the government to close the door to anyone from an Ebola-affected country has done us considerable political damage and impaired the Ebola response more widely

Life follows consistent patterns at many levels. I argued years ago that the willingness of the government to go and act with violence in another country in a sense of righteousness fed down to increase community and domestic violence. In my garden blog this week I talked about the permaculture concept of edge and realised what I was writing was very relevant to the incessant clang of this government shutting its mind and doors to people and ideas. Tragically it strengthens an old an negative door-closing quality of Australian community fearful thinking... to break which requires political leadership of a positive kind.

Edge is productive, overlaps are productive, edge is the basis of creativity, not only for plant life but also for human life in community. No edge, no connection – no multiculturalism – no new life, limited creativity and imagination. Perhaps I should also write about this in my strategic directions blog, my country seems increasingly anxious about shoulders that come to rub it in this complex world. Seize the day, not shut the door... Which leads back to Michael [Pollan]'s comment about peoples' concerns about his lawn. The dominant meme being that gardening is about plonking in and then maintaining the barricades with weapons various, to keep permanent all those arrangements you stubbornly want unchanged.
But actually, can't.

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